I decided to write this to express how I feel about teaching. It's one of the most fun things that a person can do. I feel that besides being one of the most noble professions, it is also one of the most pleasurable (if you are good at it, that is). If you are teaching a topic, it would be safe to assume that you are at a higher level than your students in that topic, i.e. you have more knowledge and/or a better understanding than your students. The first step of teaching is getting to your students' level, thinking and understanding what your students know about that topic and how their minds work. Now, to teach them what you know and they don't, you slowly get them to your level.
For example, if you are teaching physics to a group of students who are studying it for the first time, you can proceed in two ways. A bad teacher will start of with boring and monotonous equations, and by the end of class will have succeeded in conveying to his students that physics is also one of the things which do not have any application in practical life and is just boring theoretical knowledge. A good teacher, however will start by talking about things which all of the students have observed in their lives, by starting to think at their level, and himself becoming just a curious student trying to find out why are things the way they are? Then he could go back in time, to find another curious guy searching for answers after he saw an apple fall and the answers that he got (god knows why it never struck him that his shit always fell down and did not go up or just hover in mid-air). The trick is to make the students curious and interested and make them realize that if they use their own common sense, they will not be wrong.
This is the beauty of teaching. Understanding your students first and then making them understand you. And if they now understand it better than you, then it just proves that you are a good teacher.
Teaching in some ways is similar to writing. Authors who just keep on scribbling whatever comes in their minds and in whichever order do not make good writers or story-tellers, because they just end up giving their own confusions to the reader. To become a good writer, you need to have clarity in your own thoughts and ideas, organize them, and present them in a way such that it forms a clear picture in your readers' mind. This is quite similar to teaching. The aim is to form a clear picture in your students' mind. A professional may know a lot about his/her field of interest, but all good professionals do not make good teachers. This is because what may be obvious to them is not always obvious to their students. They may take a lot of things for granted and assume that their students know them which they may not. And they may go on telling stuff in any order because they understand everything, but if it is not told in the right order, it will form a very garbled picture in the students' mind. If you, however start from what your students already know, proceed in an order so that things are always clear to your students, you will form a very clear picture in your students' mind. And in the process, you end up understanding it much better and with much more clarity yourself. That, I feel is beautiful.
I hope I was able to form a clear picture, of what I wanted to say, in your mind.
4 months ago